Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tempting Tuesday: Dumplings

Tempting Tuesday: trying not to kill my family with my experimental cooking.


I make stew on a very regular basis, but I've never made dumplings before. I don't know why. Anyhoo, some random thought led me to google them and I discovered that they are incredibly easy to make.
I was making stew anyway, with what I had in the fridge, which happened to be half a butternut squash, sweet potato, 2 carrots, potato and 2 sticks of celery. I put in a chicken stock cube and a tbsp of onion gravy granules too. Basic I know, but we're living on the cheap at the moment.

I used brown wholegrain flour after the great indigestion battle I fought last week with the pastry, to see if the over processed white flour was the culprit and I can now report that these did not kill me in the same way. Yay!

Makes enough for 4-6 people depending on your portion size.

Ingredients:
250g self raising flour
125g butter
seasoning/herbs of your choice

Method:
Put flour and seasoning into a large bowl.
Grate butter using a cheese grater, straight into the bowl, then rub it all together using your fingertips.
Add tiny splashes of cold water until it all binds together well enough to make little balls.
Form it into 8-12 balls, depending on how many people you're feeding and how large you want them.
When your stew is 20 minutes away from finishing, make sure it's got enough liquid to cope with the sponge like dumplings and that it is boiling, then add the dumplings, pop the lid on and do not remove it for the whole 20 minutes.

Definitely going to always do dumplings from now on. Easy and yummy and filling.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Make: Crochet Jellyfish

Monday Make: This week's project



This week's make took a few attempts before I was happy with the pattern.

The first attempt had a wibbly face, the second attempt had a head that was too big and tenticles which were too short.


The third attempt is an adorable miniature version and a firm favourite of the boys but it was too small to give it curly tenticles so it still wasn't quite right.



The fourth and final try is super cute but one of the tenticles managed to stretch, but I couldn't face re-making that one tenticle so I left it. If you have a bash at this yourself, just be gentle when you're making them.







I don't honestly know if these instructions will make any sense, but good luck and let me know if you're confused.


You'll need 4 ply wool of any two colours you like and a 2.5mm crochet hook.

key: st=stitch
cs=chain stitch
ss=slip stitch
sc=single crochet
dc-double crochet


Start with a row of 4 cs.
Ss them together into a circle, sc 1 to start a new row and sc 2 in each cs to increase the circle.
sc 2 in each st on the next row giving you 16.
On the next row, sc 1 in the first st, sc 2 in second, 1 then 2 and so on, leaving you with 27.
On the next row increase every 3rd st; 1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc, and so on leaving you with 36.
On the next row, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc, and so on leaving you with 45.
Sc 6 more rows.
The next row has 41 st, so decrease every 10th sc.
On the next row, decrease every 9th.
On the next row, decrease every 8th.
Then we'll change colour to do the inside, so tie it off.
Sc one row in the new colour, then on the next row increase every 8th.


On the next row, increase every 9th.
Then, sc 6 more rows and tie it off.
Then do the tentacles. I did mine 50 st long, but you can do them shorter or longer. You can do them in either colour or a mixture of the two.
I did a string of 50 cs, hooked it through the middle of the inside, then 50 more. Then I put 3 ds stitches through each cs to make them curly. If you put 2 dc in each or even 4, you get a different result and it could make for a lovely organic look. Or do triple crochet stitches. The choices are endless.

I hope that makes sense. Good luck! If you give it a bash or make something similar, please send me photos.
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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sticky Saturday: Beaded Wire Wrapped Pebbles

Sticky Saturday: messy play fun with kids



I thought the boys would enjoy making these.
They didn't, but hey ho.

I painted the rocks for them. I know they would've loved painting them but then they would've got annoyed waiting for them to dry.


Threading the beads onto the wire turned out to be far too taxing for Bean. Ed wouldn't even join us at the table.

He did make a lovely face in the beads though!

Oh look! A smile! Ed joined us to play with a piece of wire.




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Thursday, March 23, 2017

#tbt: Bird Aviary

Throw back Thursday: taking a look at stuff I've made in the past.

Once upon a time, we had a whole menagerie of pets and in 2012 this included a few Zebra Finches. One day, I decided their cage wasn't big enough, so I stole some wood out of Mr Strawberry's stash and went off to the store for some tiny mesh. The tray even slides out for easy cleaning (I just put newspaper in there and changed it every day) and we could water the plant through the mesh. The really fun bit was changing the branches, which get covered in poo and I figured it was more enriching to change it occasionally. It has a large door for doing that, but of course the finches had a good old whizz around the living room every time I did it. 
Aw, they were lovely, but they were also incredibly messy and so noisy that anyone who ever slept overnight would complain :/
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tempting Tuesday: Veggie Pie

Tempting Tuesday: trying not to kill my family with my experimental cooking.


I made a pie!
Pastry has scared me too much to brave it until now. I've gone for the 'rustic' look as I was struggling too much to make it tidy.
The contents is basically what I had in the fridge; sweet potato, butternut squash, potato, carrot, celery and onion, all mixed with a cheese sauce made using butter, flour, milk and cheese.
I baked it at 180°C for around half an hour.
I tastes great, perfect with mash potato and broccoli but sadly it turns out pastry gives me horrendous indigestion. I'll try different flour next time and see if the over processed white flour is the problem.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Make: Macrame Bracelets

Monday Make: This week's project


For as long as I can remember, I've had a 'how to' sheet on Macrame, photocopied from a book I borrowed from my Mother in the nineties, stashed away in my 'to do' pile. I don't know where said pile is now of course, so I had to google it. I've no idea if I've done it right, but if nothing else, it's 'inspired' by so hey ho.

I made this one using glass beads I bought in London while I was at Uni there. There was this amazing bead shop in Soho, but sadly, being a student I couldn't afford to go very often. I did however get these on one of my few trips.

This one is made using felt beads I won in a magazine competition years ago. I love them so much (I had wanted so badly to win haha) that I haven't ever used them. How silly!


I would of course do a how to, but I've no idea if I can make it make sense. Maybe google it and see what you come up with. Youtube is epic for learning everything!


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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sensory Sunday: Fairy Lights Box



Sensory Sunday: Exploring the world with little fat fingers.


Remember the box I used ages ago for the ribbon box? It's still around, but now it's full of holes.

A set of Christmas tree lights shoved in the top and a blanket covering those fascinating wires gives us this...

Sooooooo pretty.
And so simple (except for all those holes you have to punch through using a screwdriver with an inquisitive child around who's desperate to join in).

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